Do Atheists Have a Point?
by Jim Josephsen
We’re nearing that time of year again which forces people to think a little more about Jesus Christ. The repetitive and hackneyed slogan, “Jesus is the reason for the season” once again resonates in the minds of millions of nominal Christians as carols and melodies inundate malls and office buildings, radios and televisions, while Hallmark moments are revisited.
Christmas is nearing; that annual holiday which makes most of the celebrants feel excited for about six hours; then broke for the next six months. A celebration of joy, of goodwill toward men, more often creates despair and anxiety, even loneliness in the lives of thousands who are without family or friends. It obligates many to make the annual trek to church, to Christmas mass; when normally these same individuals have little time for God or church. Why, Christmas even promotes little white lies in order to bring smiles to the faces of children.
Christmas has become a commercialized annual marketing campaign aimed at improving year-end sales figures. More often Jesus is not even mentioned; simply Christmas indulgence is promoted. Christmas is more about merrymaking, festivities and parties and less about religion. The history of the Christmas holiday is becoming more exposed as History Channel episodes such as “Christmas Unwrapped” air at this time of year.
A courageous look into history, especially religious documents, and an honest reading of the Gospel accounts of the Bible will reinforce the fact that Christmas is an amalgamation of pagan celebrations and heathen rituals sprinkled with Christological elements surrounding the Nativity story. The historical truth and prophetic fulfillment of Christ’s birth, the time elements of His birth and the reason He came to the earth are little understood and are for that matter, suppressed by Christmas falsehoods.
By reading the Bible it is clear Christmas was never authorized as a holiday; Christmas was not ordained by God. God ordained seven annual holy days, and Christmas is not one of them. Christmas, in the truest meaning of the word, is a myth, deeply rooted in folklore and pagan rituals.
Consequently, when the American Atheists, an advocacy group based in New Jersey, recently rented a billboard located on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel calling Christmas a myth, they were telling the truth. Atheists are speaking correctly about a lie that has permeated our world.
The billboard at first glance seems to be promoting the Christmas celebration, as it features the universally recognized manger scene; the three wise men and the traditional star of Bethlehem. However, reading the words one can understand the sarcasm, as the text states: “You KNOW it’s a myth. This season, celebrate REASON.”
The Atheists who sponsored this billboard have done so in order to draw attention to elements of fact over those of fiction, of principles of reason over faith. It challenges those religious folks who, as atheists deem, “believe in an invisible magic man in the sky.”
There is no doubt; atheists attack all religions, anyone who believes in God, and Christianity in particular. Atheists have no choice but to attack the ideology. It opposes their ideology, their belief system, their concept of the world.
Christians are quick to claim they practice reason in their faith; not separating reason from faith. They claim the infallibility of the Bible, claiming it to be the very Word of God. They claim to know the truth of God; being liberated in Christ and free from vain worship.
Yet when it comes to Christmas, both reason and liberty go up the chimney!
When it comes to the celebration of Christmas (as opposed to the human birth of the Son of God in the flesh), these atheists have a point.
It is obvious; atheists do not obey God nor do they have any faith in God simply because they do not believe God exists. However, what excuse has a Christian?
Christians claim to believe in God; but are they willing to believe what God has to say? Are they willing to practice reason with history and with the Scriptures? Are they willing to obey God?
The prophet Jeremiah wrote to the Children of Israel (those who were God’s chosen people) words which are just as profound and pertinent for anyone who today claims to be a follower of Christ, “Learn not the way of the heathen and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain (worthless); for one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and gold, they fasten it with nails and with hammers that it moves not.”
Additionally, notice what the Apostle Paul told the Galatian gentiles, who before their conversion and baptism into the body of Christ were considered heathen or pagans, as they would observe vain pagan celebrations and engage in variations of idolatrous rituals. “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God, or rather are known by God – how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles. Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.”
The myth of the Christmas celebration holds Christianity captive to lies, held in bondage to the illogical worship of vain things and beholden to folklore. Christmas is a myth, a traditional story of ostensible historical events. Christmas deceives the celebrants, obscuring the truth of God, hiding the real reason and actual timing of the birth of Christ.
Ironically, atheists are challenging Christians to stop and think. Anyone claiming to be a Christian should stop and contemplate the historical facts and begin to exercise reason with the truth and with the Word of God. Christmas is rooted in folklore and pagan rituals; not in the Word of God. The admonition for all Christians is simple – Learn not the way of the heathen; do not be enslaved by observing Christmas, the modern-day equivalent of age old pagan rituals and celebrations.
The Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association